The more I learn about the movie industry the more complex I realize it is. Take Trick ‘r Treat, for example. It was released to some film festivals—and backed by a major studio—in 2007. I wondered why I’d never really heard of it, and the reason seems to be that it never had a theatrical release. Until this month. It is now playing in theaters. The thing is, it’s already available on streaming services because it gained a cult following when it was initially released fifteen years ago. I came to know about it by wandering into one of those Halloween pop-up stores recently. There were plenty of Sam costumes so I did a little research and discovered a Halloween movie I’d never seen.
I have to say, the first time watching it was confusing. I didn’t realize it was four or five separate, but interlaced stories. I kept waiting for a central plot to emerge, but it didn’t. At the same time, I wasn’t aware that it was a comedy horror either. I have no problem with comedy horror, of course. I just like to know that before I get into it. Once I’d figured these things out, I could see the draw. It is fun and seasonal. Clearly it’s holiday horror. In fact several websites list it as being essential October viewing. It’s certainly different from many Halloween movies in refusing to be taken seriously. It’s like adults having fun instead of kids enjoying the holiday.
Perhaps the most self-aware Halloween film, it constantly reinforces that you need to obey Samhain etiquette. Those who are killed (and there are many) die for having violated the rules of the holiday. I appreciate the fact that it insists that we do these things for a reason. Wearing costumes, handing out candy, carving and lighting jack-o-lanterns, these all serve a purpose. The movie suggests we need to do these things to stay safe from Sam. Sam, of course, can’t be killed which means that a sequel may be in the works. Trick ‘r Treat gets full marks for staying focused on the holiday. Holiday horror has been a fascination of mine for some time and this movie has it in spades. Even if it’s a little confusing at times, it’s a fun way to celebrate the season. And this year you have your choice of seeing it in the theater or streaming it on your most convenient device.